• Whoa, podnuh: Texas may be jumping the gun on thinking it can now just do whatever it likes on voting after Supreme Court's decision:
The state’s redistricting maps, state Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a public statement last week, “will not need to go through the lengthy and costly federal preclearance process because of Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.” He added that the preclearance process also would not apply to the state’s new voter ID law.• Even some judicial conservatives unhappy with Supreme Court VRA decision. Nina Totenburg reports:
Two developments this week raised questions about the state’s legal stance. On Monday, the San Antonio federal court held a hearing to gauge where challenges to the state’s redistricting maps stood in the wake of the Shelby County decision. Afterward, that court ordered lawyers on both sides of the case to file new briefs on Section 3 of the law “and its possible impact on this case.” That district court order said all parties’ briefs on that point should be filed simultaneously on July 22.
Section 3 is the part of the law that permits the federal government, or private challengers, to ask a federal court to put a state or local government under the preclearance regime provided by Section 5, if such a government has a recent history of discriminating against minority voters.
Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, a former state Supreme Court justice who served as the Reagan administration’s advocate in the Supreme Court, thought the court’s decision was just wrong.• Brennan Center Resource Page on Voting Rights Act: The page is a compilation of all of the Brennan Center’s recent work on the Voting Rights Act and ideas on how to move forward after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling gutting the act.
“Because we’re not there yet,” he says. “We’re not there yet, and the facts on the ground in Shelby County itself showed that.” [...]
John McGinnis of Northwestern University Law School agrees, suggesting that the court’s conservatives let their own policy disagreements with Congress trump the clear meaning of the Constitution and the post Civil War amendments.
“I’m sorry to say I think this opinion was as singular a failure as I’ve seen in the history of the Supreme Court,” McGinnis said at a recent judicial conference.
• Rhode Island Assembly passes National Popular Vote resolution: If the governor signs, Rhode Island will become the 10th state to pass the National Popular Vote, a national compact that could change election strategy by getting around the impact of the Electoral College without passing a constitutional amendment to dump it:
Legislation that would give all four of the state's electoral votes to whoever won the popular vote nationwide in a presidential election, regardless of whether the majority of Rhode Islanders voted for that candidate, cleared the General Assembly Tuesday night, with a final a final vote in the Senate. [...]So far, nine states totally 132 electoral votes have approved the NPV. Once passed by enough states to account for half the total, that is, 270 electoral votes, the multistate compact will go into effect.
The change, part of a nationwide effort, is intended to bypass the Electoral College, which encourages candidates to devote the vast majority of their energy to swing states, where the race is close. States such as Rhode Island, where the Democratic candidate typically wins, are ignored.
The GOP chairman of the state Senate rules committee, Sen. Tom Apodaca, said he would move quickly to pass a voter ID law that Republicans say would bolster the integrity of the balloting process. GOP leaders also began engineering an end to the state's early voting, Sunday voting and same-day registration provisions, all popular with black voters. Civil rights groups say the moves are designed to restrict poll access by blacks, who vote reliably Democratic.So, are voter I.D.s fair because they are required of everyone? Democracy North Carolina, a liberal advocacy group, says blacks made up 22 percent of North Carolina's registered voters last year but 34 percent of voters without a driver's license or state-issued ID. It also said 29 percent of early voters and 34 percent of same-day registration voters were black.
The moves are only the first indication that the ruling will have "a demonstrably negative impact on voters of color," said [voting right lawyer Allison] Riggs, staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The group already has a 2-year-old lawsuit pending that alleges racial discrimination in the 1st District and three dozen other North Carolina districts redrawn by Republicans.
• Project Vote releases its Permanent Portable Registration paper. You can read and download this new paper here:
In 49 out of 50 states, voter registration is a prerequisite to exercising the right• Arizonans file for 2014 referendum to smash voter suppression law: A state law that includes a number of provisions critics say will suppress the vote, particularly of minorities, and guarantee GOP hegemony even as the state's demographics change, is under attack by a coalition of groups that plans to gather enough signatures to overturn it. The law is HB 2305. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vowed to veto it, then reneged.
to vote.1 But Americans are highly mobile, a fact that has a broad impact on
otherwise-eligible voters’ ability to keep their registrations current and stay on
the voter rolls. Indeed, more than 30 million citizens move every year.2 Because
a voter’s eligibility is based on legal residence, this high mobility rate threatens
the ability of eligible voters to cast ballots that count.
Permanent portable registration is an innovation that seeks to address this
problem by allowing a voter who moves anywhere within the state where he or
she is already registered to update his or her address at the polls and vote.
Among the obstacles the law throws up: requiring all candidates to get the same number of signatures to get on the ballot, which means a higher threshold for members of minority parties; making it easier for authorities to remove voters' names from the permanent early-voter list; making it a criminal offense to pick up someone else's early ballot and take it to the polls; creating extra hassles for anyone circulating initiative, referendum and recall petitions.